Polk County Public Schools is not participating in a federal tax deferment program that would mean higher tax bills for employees during the first quarter of 2021.
“This is a tax deferment program, not a tax forgiveness program,” said PCPS Chief Financial Officer Michael Perrone.
“To put this program into layman’s terms, it would be like not making a car payment this month, but then having to make two car payments next month.”
Beginning Sept. 1, employers had the option to defer their employees’ Social Security taxes through the end of the calendar year. The intent was to provide workers with some financial relief amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the program stipulates that workers must repay the deferred taxes by April 30, 2021.
“In the first quarter of 2021, our employees would have been paying both their normal Social Security taxes and repaying the taxes that were deferred in the fourth quarter of 2020. Their tax burden would be double from January to April 2021. We could not impose that on our employees,” Perrone said.
PCPS will continue to withhold and remit taxes to the government as usual. Perrone said school districts across the state, as well as many private employers, are making the same decision.
“This program really isn’t in the best interest of employees,” he said.
The federal government has said it is exploring ways to eliminate the requirement that workers repay the deferred taxes. If that happens, Perrone said PCPS will pay its employees back.
“Absolutely,” he said, “we would send the money right back to our employees.”